I tried to replace my rear brake light on a 89 Toyota pickup and the bulb broke off.

Light cluster with broken bulb

The base metal connector piece seems to be rusted in and won't come out. I unhooked the battery cable and tried to get it out with a needle nose plier to no avail.

What tool would be needed here? Should I replace the whole assembly?

  • 1
    Can you take a picture and add it to the question?
    – Ben
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 21:42
  • If it's an oldstyle bulb (brass base), just grab it with Vise-Grips and deform it until it comes out. If it's newer blade style, you should be able to pry it out with a screwdriver. Obviously you don't want to go at it full bore in either case, just pry/twist/crank enough to get it out. Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 21:48
  • @Ben done. it's the center bulb, or what's left of it. Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 23:54
  • @Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 So far, I tried a flat screw driver and a needle nose plier. There is really not enough for the vice-grip to latch onto. Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 23:57
  • 1
    Get some PB Blaster ... looks pretty corroded. You need some kind of lubricant/anti-rust spray on it ... cannot hurt. Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 0:19

4 Answers 4


needle nose pliers, roll a corner back and walk it out with the pliers


I would first try needlenose pliers. If that doesn't work, a potato pushed into it is an old trick. Might I also suggest that you pull out another bulb first to discover exactly what method is needed -- do you push it in first, does it turn right like you expect, or does it go left?


Time for old wooden broom handle trick. Find old broom with screw in wooden handle. Unscrew handle from broom base. Shove the handle into old socket. Unscrew the old bulb base. I've done this many times.


If the needle nose pliers don't work, then you need to resort to a small pair of side-cutters and cut the bulb casing turning it into a smaller radius as you go - eventually it will come free.

Do make sure all circuits for lights are off - otherwise you get to replace fuses as well...

Then you need to make sure the contacts and bulb-holder are clean, lubricated and fit the new bulb...

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .